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unhappycamper's Journal
unhappycamper's Journal
June 27, 2013

DoD Aviation Plan Ignores Sequestration; Rep. Forbes Warily Watches F-18, F-35 Balance


DoD Aviation Plan Ignores Sequestration; Rep. Forbes Warily Watches F-18, F-35 Balance
By Colin Clark on June 26, 2013 at 3:05 PM

WASHINGTON: The second comprehensive report to Congress on the Pentagon’s aviation fleet paints a pretty robust picture of the fleet in most respects all the way out to 2043. But there’s a rub: like the Obama Administration’s budget request, the report doesn’t take sequestration into effect.

One of the Pentagon report’s most important clients, the chairman of the House Armed Services seapower and projection forces subcommittee, Rep. Randy Forbes, offered a subdued view of the absence of sequestration cuts:


Forbes raises questions that would resonate with the Marines and strategic elements of the Air Force: “Can we count on assured access to local airfields in future operational scenarios for our tactical land-based aircraft? Can we be certain that the Carrier Strike Group will be able to sail through contested waters in the Western Pacific or Northern Arabian Sea? To me, meeting this challenge requires a sustained investment in our long-range strike capabilities that will be placed in jeopardy if we continue to allow sequestration to wreck our procurement accounts.”

In terms of long range strike, the aviation plan notes that it does not allow for any planes being destroyed or permanently grounded and it continues to state the (deliberately) vague Air Force plan for 80 to 100 new Long Range Strike aircraft, with Initial Operating Capability (IOC) planned for the mid-2020s.

On edit to add DoD Report: http://breakingdefense.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2013/06/DoD-Aircraft-Report-to-Congress-.pdf
June 27, 2013

Abu Ghraib case against CACI dismissed


Abu Ghraib case against CACI dismissed
By Marjorie Censer, Published: June 26

Arlington-based CACI International secured a long-fought victory Wednesday when a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit alleging its employees directed mistreatment of detainees at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

The judge did not explicitly rule on CACI’s role in the alleged abuse, instead deciding that because the incidents happened overseas, the U.S. District Court in Alexandria does not have jurisdiction to hear the case.

The decision, which the plaintiffs have vowed to appeal, could have broad implications for the growing corps of contractors who accompany U.S. troops around the world and are tasked with sensitive jobs. CACI’s employees, who conducted interrogation and other tasks at the Iraqi prison, were accused of being part of a group of conspirators who allegedly abused and tortured four detainees between 2003 and 2004.


The case is likely to spark renewed debate about the proper role of government contractors and what legal protection they should receive when acting on behalf of the military.

June 27, 2013

Kyrgyzstan ends US lease of Manas airbase


$954 million dollars worth of C-17s

Kyrgyzstan ends US lease of Manas airbase
Thursday Jun 20, 201302:45 PM GMT

On Thursday, the Kyrgyz lawmakers voted ninety-one to five in favor of ending the agreement to lease the Manas airbase in June 2014. The bill will take effect after being signed by the Kyrgyz president.

The move dashes US hopes of holding the base in exchange for paying more rent.

Washington has been paying sixty-million dollars annually for the base. All US troops moving in and out of Afghanistan travel through Manas.

The base, located outside the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek, had been set up to assist US-led troops in Afghanistan.
June 26, 2013

The Reality Of Afghanistan


The Reality Of Afghanistan
By George Friedman, Founder and Chairman of Stratfor, a geopolitical intelligence firm
Business | 6/25/2013 @ 12:01PM

The United States made a decision to withdraw from Afghanistan several years ago. That decision carried with it an inevitable logic. Once the United States resolved itself to leave at any cost, its failures up to that point were laid bare, as were the vulnerabilities of the government it had spent more than a decade building. The door was opened for the enemies of the regime of President Hamid Karzai — the man who has been synonymous with the post-Taliban government. All that was left to do was wait for the American pullback.

Elements within the U.S. government have not been shy in their criticisms of the Afghan government and the Afghan military as being corrupt and incompetent. Some units have been effective, but it is well known that the Taliban created a program designed to penetrate post-Taliban institutions shortly after those institutions were created. At the most senior level, the Taliban paid, through family members, substantial sums to buy the loyalties of individuals. These bribes worked partly because there was a lot of money involved and partly because people realized that once the United States left, government loyalists would be on their own. This is not a phenomenon unique to Afghanistan — people would prefer to live, and those in question were hedging their bets.

Separately, there was a significant enlistment of Taliban sympathizers into the incipient Afghan military. This trend was less formal but even more effective. Soon there were Taliban supporters at several levels of the military, something we saw during the wave of unexpected assassinations of NATO personnel by people believed to be loyal to the regime. These are what came to be called green-on-blue attacks.

Therefore, Afghan forces are fundamentally unreliable. Not everyone has to be in contact with the Taliban to render the force unusable; a single person prepared and able to signal planned operations renders any operation either useless or disastrous.

June 26, 2013

Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair's lawyers file motions at court-martial claiming unlawful command influe


Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair's lawyers file motions at court-martial claiming unlawful command influence
By Paul Woolverton
Published: 08:14 AM, Wed Jun 26, 2013

Army Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair testified in his own defense at a pre-trial hearing Tuesday to try to keep emails from being used against him at his court-martial next month.

Sinclair, the former deputy commanding general of the 82nd Airborne Division, said he had an expectation of privacy in using government-issued computers in Afghanistan.


Sinclair is accused of sexually assaulting an Army captain with whom he has acknowledged having an adulterous affair. The captain complained to Sinclair's supervisor in March 2012, while she and Sinclair were stationed together in Kandahar, Afghanistan.

Her complaint led to an investigation and numerous other charges against Sinclair, including inappropriate relationships with several other women, possession of pornography in the Afghan war zone in violation of orders and misuse of government travel money.
June 26, 2013

Diplomats, defence officials posted abroad told to call scathing F-35 report a ‘bureaucratic’ issue,


Diplomats, defence officials posted abroad told to call scathing F-35 report a ‘bureaucratic’ issue, emails show
Lee Berthiaume, Postmedia News | 13/06/25 | Last Updated: 13/06/25 5:00 PM ET

OTTAWA — Canadian diplomats and military officers posted abroad were encouraged to downplay a scathing report by the auditor general on the F-35 stealth fighter in discussions with their foreign counterparts last year, emails show.

At one point, they were even instructed to refer to the criticism as a “bureaucratic” issue rather than a substantial problem.

The instructions were part of a broader Defence Department damage-control effort, and represented the second time in as many months that Canadian officials found themselves reassuring jittery international partners that Canada was not walking away from the fighter jet project.


Each partner is tightly linked to the others when it comes to the stealth fighter, because any change in the number of aircraft to be bought by one country, or even the timeline for purchasing, has a ripple effect on the rest.

[i[]unhappycamper comment: Lockheed Martin has been ramping up their outsourcing to get buy ins from politicians. Contracts awarded this week so far:

(Italy Takes $1 Billion Risk With F-35 FACO) http://www.aviationweek.com/Article.aspx?id=/article-xml/AW_06_17_2013_p0108-586855.xml

June 26, 2013

Vt. F-35 opponents demonstrate noise


Vt. F-35 opponents demonstrate noise
Posted: Jun 25, 2013 11:10 AM EDT Updated: Jun 25, 2013 8:17 PM EDT
By Kyle Midura

BURLINGTON, Vt. - Burlington residents heard a sample of what people living near the airport may hear if the Vermont National Guard lands the military's newest fighter plane.

Opponents of the plane blasted recordings of the F-35 for six minutes in downtown Burlington Tuesday morning. They say they set the volume at a level consistent with the level in the Air Force's environmental impact statement.

Organizers of the event say they want to put things into perspective for those outside the flight path. But not everyone agrees.

"Those folks-- this is what they experience right now, with the F-35s coming here. That noise contour will expand to 3,400 that will experience what that gentleman just experienced," said Chris Hurd, who opposes the F-35.
June 26, 2013

Italian minister defends F-35 jet purchase on eve of tense vote


Italian minister defends F-35 jet purchase on eve of tense vote
By Paolo Biondi and Steve Scherer
ROME | Tue Jun 25, 2013 1:06pm EDT

(Reuters) - Italy's cash-strapped government plans to go ahead with purchasing 90 Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter jets, Defense Minister Mario Mauro said on Tuesday, ahead of a vote that risks splitting the ruling coalition.

The lower house of parliament is due to vote on Wednesday on a motion, presented last month by opposition groups and some members of Prime Minister Enrico Letta's centre-left Democratic Party (PD), that calls on Italy to drop the fighter investment.


Last year, Italy cut its F-35 order to 90 warplanes from the 131 it had agreed to buy more than a decade ago, a move it said would save 5 billion euros as it sought to reduce Defense spending to shore up its accounts during the economic slump.

With the country still in recession, the money saved by eliminating a single F-35 could be used to build 387 day care centers or renovate 258 schools, according to the motion signed by 158 lawmakers who want to scrap the deal.

unhappycamper comment: It's a guns or butter debate. I vote butter.
June 25, 2013

In Debate Over Military Sexual Assault, Men Are Overlooked Victims


In Debate Over Military Sexual Assault, Men Are Overlooked Victims
Published: June 23, 2013

Sexual assault has emerged as one of the defining issues for the military this year. Reports of assaults are up, as are questions about whether commanders have taken the problem seriously. Bills to toughen penalties and prosecution have been introduced in Congress.

But in a debate that has focused largely on women, this fact is often overlooked: the majority of service members who are sexually assaulted each year are men.

In its latest report on sexual assault, the Pentagon estimated that 26,000 service members experienced unwanted sexual contact in 2012, up from 19,000 in 2010. Of those cases, the Pentagon says, 53 percent involved attacks on men, mostly by other men.

“It’s easy for some people to single out women and say: ‘There’s a small percentage of the force having this problem,’ ” said First Lt. Adam Cohen, who said he was raped by a superior officer. “No one wants to admit this problem affects everyone. Both genders, of all ranks. It’s a cultural problem.”
June 24, 2013

In Yemen, Most Al Qaeda can be Captured, but Killing is Easier


Protesters loyal to the Shi'ite al-Houthi rebel group burn an effigy of a U.S. aircraft during a demonstration to protest against what they say is U.S. interference in Yemen, including drone strikes, after their weekly Friday prayers in the Old Sanaa city April 12, 2013

In Yemen, Most Al Qaeda can be Captured, but Killing is Easier
OpEdNews Op Eds 6/23/2013 at 21:19:36
By Ann Wright

Extensive interviews with families of drone victims and human rights organizations in Yemen indicate that the governments of the United States and Yemen are choosing to kill rather than attempting to capture suspected al Qaeda members in Yemen. Civilians who have no connection with Al Qaeda are killed when the U.S. uses drones to target Al Qaeda members who travel freely throughout the country. High unemployment and feelings of injustice for the killing of people in their area by drones and Yemeni air strikes provide a fertile recruiting ground for al Qaeda in Yemen. Yemen prisons in which young people have been detained and imprisoned for months and years without trial by the Government of Yemen is a key place where radicalization for armed groups, including al Qaeda, occurs.

I have been in Yemen for the past week with a CODEPINK: Women for Peace delegation that included Medea Benjamin and Jodie Evans, co-founders of CODEPINK, Terry Rockefeller, whose sister was killed in 9/11 attacks and represents 9/11 Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, Robert Naiman, policy director of Just Foreign Policy, Pam Bailey, writer and human rights activist and Tighe Barry, CODEPINK art director. We have spoken with families of drone victims in Yemen, local and international human rights organizations based in Yemen, as well as families of prisoners in Guantanamo.

Two families of victims of drone strikes in the Jaar area in south Yemen said that many al Qaeda members pass freely through government checkpoints each day. The ability to go through checkpoints was underscored by a human rights activist in the Marib area.

Entsar Ali Al-Qadhi, Chair of the Marib Youth Council, said al Qaeda in her region are known to the government. They travel freely in the region and could be stopped at any of the 35 checkpoints between Marib and Sanaa, the capital of Yemen, if the government wishes. Several who have been killed by US drone attacks had been released from prison and had been reporting to a government office each month. Their locations were well-known to government officials. Entsar said that once a person is labeled as an al Qaeda member, there is nothing that person can do to erase the label, including renouncing violence, serving time in prison and reporting back to the government on a regular basis. Once labeled as al Qaeda by the U.S. government one remains on an assassination list no matter what one does, according to Al-Qadhi.

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